ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Nouvelle grève sauvage de mineurs en Afrique du Sud
Translated Saturday 22 September 2012, by Henry Crapoand reviewed by
A good third of the miners at Gold Fields, 15,000 workers, wildcatted on Sept. 9. Labor action is spreading and more violence is to be feared.
And yet, Gold Fields had come to an agreement last week to end a previous wildcat strike involving 12,000 workers at its main mine, in the eastern part of South Africa. The dispute has now spread to a goldmine in the western part of the country.
Gold Fields is the world’s fourth-largest gold producer. The company said that it does not know the exact reason for the Sept. 9 strike. But, above all, mine management has refused to open negotiations with the strikers’ representatives.
Last week, the Marikana platinum mine was the epicenter of the labor movement and the place where the dramatic events of August 16 unfolded, in which 34 miners died, with an additional ten deaths the previous week. In the end, management deigned to negotiate with the representatives of the workers – but through a closed door.
In the mines at Gold Fields and at Marikana, the labor movement is sharpening. The South African police fear an outbreak of violence following the expiration of the deadline foreseen for resumption of work at the Marikana platinum mine, which is exploited by Longmin. On the other hand, at the Kloof gold mine near Johannesburg, the miners agreed to return to work after having received guarantees that their demands would be examined.